Danger of generalisations... - Dear Bob Yesterday's post was enjoyable as always, but your assertion that you've never been to a concert where the musicians were dead came as a challen...
2 hours ago
Why then—when the flourishing of today’s tools of communication have enabled an explosion of sociability—have the ranks of our closest confidants been diminished? Various interpretations tempt our judgment: Does the “self-creation,” or distortion, made easy by online anonymity and customizable avatars damn us to lose (as Yeats put it) “the heart-revealing intimacy / That chooses right” without which we will “never find a friend”? Does youth culture’s cry, “If you’re not on MySpace, you don’t exist,” reveal a generation of Berkeleyan idealists in the making, to whom “to be is to be perceived”? Or, as Ann Hulbert suggests in a recent article in the New York Times Magazine, does such data imply we are simply making better Aristotelian distinctions between friends—“a stark testament that we value a deep bond when we find it and aren’t fooled when we don’t”?
As with any new technological advance, we must consider what type of behavior online social networking encourages. Does this technology, with its constant demands to collect (friends and status), and perform (by marketing ourselves), in some ways undermine our ability to attain what it promises—a surer sense of who we are and where we belong? The Delphic oracle’s guidance was know thyself. Today, in the world of online social networks, the oracle’s advice might be show thyself.
Nerve cells don’t touch each other. So, how is the electrochemical current of a nerve impulse transmitted from one nerve cell to the next in a nerve pathway? When the impulse reaches the end of a stimulated nerve cell, that cell secretes a chemical into the gap between it and the next nerve cell.
This chemical is the transmitter substance. When enough of it accumulates in the gap – zap – the next nerve cell is stimulated by it.
Now, if another nerve impulse comes along before all the transmitter substance still in the gap has broken down, the new impulse could be weak and still get the next nerve cell to fire, because it would be using transmitter substance leftover from the previous impulse.
Do you see what happens here? The more you use a certain pathway, the more transmitter substance in the gaps accumulates. Then some researcher comes along, runs some tests, and says, “You have an elevated level of blah, blah, blah.”
Oh, my! But that is no disease. It is your brain working the way it is supposed to work. Indeed, this is what gives us memory – transmitter substances that build up and remain virtually permanently in a gap – like the one that remembers your birthday.
"Lasting optimism has one essential ally: reason. Any optimism that is unreasonable is bound to be dashed by reality, leading to even more unhappiness. Optimism, therefore, must always be illuminated by the gentle, purging light of reason and be unshakeably grounded in sanity of mind, so that pessimism becomes a foolish, short-sighted attitude. What this means—reasonableness being the tepid, inglorious thing it is—is that optimism can arise only from small but undeniable achievements."Yann Martel: The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios